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I see through my blog stats that someone made it to my blog looking for food to pair with Zinfandel.  While that is an easy one:  Pasta with red sauce, barbecue anything, stews, steak, lamb and, yes, Ahi Tuna and Salmon.

Here are some other things to think about:

White wines with lots of oak are tough to pair with food (see Chardonnay’s from Napa and Australia).  Try Pinot Gris, Sauv Blanc or Reisling instead.  Save your Chards for summer sipping or rich dishes with cream and butter sauces.

Red and fish go together, see salmon and pinot noir.

Champagne or sparkling wine matches with lots of foods, especially salads, light appy’s and fish dishes. 

Do not use bad wine to cook with.  All the awful things about the wine will be brought out in the cooking process.  Use a wine that you would actually drink.  That does not mean the expensive bottle of Burgundy you got for Xmas one year, but a pleasurable easy drinking wine, you would serve to guests.

Last, but not least, experiment, there are no rules and at the end of the day, pour the wines you like with the food you like, you will certainly be happy.

Vancouver Wine Festival Vancouver Wine Festival

There are many things that make Vancouver one of the best cities in the world: The people, the beauty, the food, the Canucks, and the WINE FESTIVAL! For those of us who are lucky enough to live in this beautiful city, we get a special treat every March after it has rained every day since Christmas.

This year the festival is very exciting as the “host” country is Australia. While I do not know the exact stats, I can tell you that Australian wine is very popular in these parts. Everything from “critter” wine (see that crap Yellow Tail) to high end Penfolds Grange sells well in this market. While one could argue that Aussie Shiraz and Chardonnay’s are all starting to taste the same and if you stick to the big producers, you might encounter this. There are plenty of Aussie wineries producing unique and fabulous wines.

I encourage you to check out some of the smaller wineries or wineries that may have corporate money backing them, but are left alone to their own devices. Try different varietals and blends. Things like Grenache, Reisling, GSM’s, Sauv Blancs, “Sticky’s” and Cab’s. There is more to Australia than Shiraz with Yellow Labels and Penguins on the bottle. Some of my favourite Aussie wineries that will be at the festival are:

So enjoy the festival, try some old favourites and something different and I look forward to hearing about your hits and misses.

I have decided to slip in a note before I go off on vacation.  Here is a list of some of my favourite wines, in no particular order.  Some are available in BC, some are not.  Some have specific vintages and may no longer be available (sorry) but you might want to track down a new vintage.  I think all of them cost under $100.00 CDN which is a good thing…..

  • Blue Mountain Pinot Gris – regular and strip label

I know you have to buy the stuff by the case and only from the winery, but can someone out there tell me if there is a better of bottle of BC white wine at under 20 bucks?  If you have never driven up to this winery, the views alone are worth it.  The owners are very nice people as well.

  • Ridge Lytton Springs – Zin field blend

This stuff is a little pricey at $50.00 CDN, but once you try a bottle of Paul Draper’s single vineyard field blend,  you will be converted.  He makes a “Sonoma 3 Valleys” blend as well for $33.00, both aren’t cheap, but a lot of the good things in life aren’t. Plus the winery is made of hay bales, is environmentally friendly and runs on solar power.

  • Meeker Vineyards – Anything!

I have to qualify this by saying you can’t get this winery’s product in BC or even Washington State.  So, go to Mail Boxes Plus in Blaine, pay $10 USD for a mailing address and join the “Meeker Tribe”.  They will send you wine at 20% off their list price, which covers some of the obscene duty at the border.  But will you really mind paying duty when you can buy the “Yellow Cab, Cab Sauv.” for $17 USD a bottle after discount and it is better than anything made in BC even after Mr. border man takes your duty?

  • Hartford Winery – Seascape Vineyard Piniot Noir

Everyone is talking about Pinot, but after drinking a bottle of Hartford Winery Pinot, you will see why.  This one is made in super small quantities from a vineyard that overlooks the Pacific Ocean.  The fruit in this wine is unbelievable and was by no means light tasting as some heavy red fans think pinot is.  You can however, buy the Sonoma Coast bottling in Private wine shops for $40.00.  Have it with some of our local salmon and understand why an entire book and movie were made based on this finicky grape.

  • Peter Lehman – Clancy’s blend 

 This Australian winery is in my top 10 as all of their products across every price point are great.  This shiraz blend is available at all BC liqs, costs 20 bucks, consistantly gets great reviews and will be a crowd pleaser at your next party.  I am really excited about the 1997 “Mentor” my brother brought home from his honeymoon in Australia for me.  I will share it with him and his wife the next time they come over for dinner.

The wine snob is out and if I can find a web cafe, I am may send a blog while on holidays. 

Here we go, my first entry in the world of blogging. I need to thank my good friend Raj, who set me up as I am a bit of techno neophyte who thinks buying concert tickets on line means I am Internet savvy. There is a link to his blog on my site. If you are interested in the world of marketing and business, check his blog out.

I decided to start this blog as I speak constantly about the good and the bad of the wine industry and what I like to drink and not to drink. While I will let you know what I am drinking right now and what my favorites are. This blog is also going to delve into wine tourism, food, the BC government monopoly, bringing wine into Canada, the BC wine industry and lots more….. I do not profess to know everything, so I want to hear from you. Let me hear what your opinions, thoughts, likes and dislikes are. If you agree with me, I want to hear about it. If you disagree, I want to hear about it even more!

So to gets things going here are some comments to think about…

  • For you Vancouver locals… I think Burrowing Owl Wines are over rated and will tell you why in a future blog
  • My favourite grape is Zinfandel, followed closely by Pinot Noir
  • I hate the BC Liquor Store and how they control what wines I can purchase
  • I belong to 3 wine clubs in California and pay obscene amounts of duty to bring in wine to BC that I can’t buy here
  • My favourite wineries in no particular order are Ridge, Blue Mountain, Meeker, Gary Farrell, Hartford, Argyle, Provenance & Henschke. Other than Henschke in Australia, I have been fortunate to visit all of these wineries and will write about them in future blogs.
  • My favorite restaurant in Vancouver for fine dining is the Rain City Grill. My favorite hang out place is Stella’s on the Drive.
  • My favorite place to go for a wine trip is to Healdsburg, Sonoma Valley. My favorite west coast city, other than Van City is Portland.

So, you have something to chew on. I am off on vacation for 2 weeks in Hawaii (my 1st time since I was a kid) and will tell you about my wine experiences when I am back. If I have time before I leave, you may see a blog, you may not.

The goal is write something at least once a week.

Thanks for checking me out…

Chris aka the wine snob